“It is becoming increasingly clear that the essence of the administration’s health care policy, under the guise of universal coverage, is a downgrading of care for the majority of the population so as to cut health care costs for the government.”
Obama called for cuts in funding for Medicare and Medicaid including the elimination of subsidies for hospitals that treat uninsured patients. This proposal, combined with plans to limit medical tests and treatments, underscores the anti-retired character of Obama’s proposed “reform” of the health care system.
Administration spokesmen have also indicated that Obama is receptive to the idea of taxing workers for the health benefits they receive from their employers.
Obama plans to cut $313 billion over the next decade from the two federal health programs by limiting the growth of Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and health care providers. He also said he was open to expanding the role of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission set up in 1997 to save another $200 billion.
Under the terms of Obama’s plan, tens of millions of working people would have a choice of lower standard plans available in a so-called Health Insurance Exchange, where coverage was limited. This would include a government-subsidized “public option,” he said.
Far from guaranteeing decent health care for the population, the program would create a system where health care for working and poor people was rationed according to its “cost-effectiveness.” Doctors would be under intense pressure from government “advisory boards” not to order tests, use drugs or carry out medical treatments that were deemed too expensive.
Obama recently told the New York Times that prolonging the lives of terminally ill and very old people presently accounts for 80 percent of the total health care bill. He suggested that such outlays might not be cost-effective.
The destructive implications of Obama’s health care plan are spelled out in a recent book by Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and a medical advisor to the administration. In a review of the book, Health Care Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America, the New York Review of Books wrote that under Emanuel’s proposal, “Employee-based insurance would disappear,” and “Medicaid would also end and Medicare would be gradually phased out.”